Dogs are social animals and do not feel comfortable spending the day alone. Plus, they cannot think in abstract concepts like humans and so their reactions are more extreme than ours. Imagine their excitement when you come home from work every night. They start crying and jumping all over you as if you had been gone for at least a year. You may not realize it, but when they “cry,” dogs actually communicate their emotional state to you. They use this form of communication to express a variety of different emotions, so learning to decipher the reasons behind the behavior can help you understand your dog better and build a stronger bond.
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The Root of the Behavior
There are plenty of reasons that cause your dog to start crying. Usually, the reactions are accompanied by other signals that allow you to determine the cause of their behavior much easier. When your dog is stressed, for example, you will see him pacing, cowering, lip licking, panting, or being unable to respond to cues. Appeasement is another condition that may determine your pup to start crying. Appeasement is something the non-confident dog will do when he greets new people or other dogs in the street. In this case, you will see them holding their ears back, tucking their tail, crouching, rolling on their back, avoiding eye contact, turning their body sideways to the new person or dog, and of course… whining. None of which compare to the excitement he exhibits when greeting you back home. Although most dogs cry when greeting people due to their uncontrollable excitement, nothing surpasses the joy of seeing their pack leader return home.
One of the easiest ways to recognize the excitement cry is to see your pup jumping up and down, barking and wiggling his entire body, kissing, sniffing, and licking your face. Because dogs are pack animals, it is unnatural for them to be separated from the rest of the group. They feel the need to be surrounded by their owners at any time of day or night. When you leave the house, your pup might start to feel anxious and worried. Furthermore, he probably has not learned to accept voluntary detachment, so he cannot help but feel completely disoriented when you leave. Dogs are simple and straightforward: they are happy when you are around and sad when you are not. All that jumping, circling, yipping, and playful behavior is something you most likely look forward to each time you come home as well.
Encouraging the Behavior
Who doesn’t like to see their dogs overjoyed with excitement when coming home? It’s one of the best feelings you get to experience as a dog owner, as well as one of the most satisfying emotions for your little furry friend. At the same time, there are things you can do to prevent your dog from crying while being left alone in the house. One such thing would be leaving the radio on or even a clock so that your dog won’t be sitting there in silence. If you want to lower your dog’s excitement when greeting new people, you can do so by diverting their attention to their favorite toys.
Simply telling your dog to be quiet during greetings won’t work, although you can use management procedures to help prevent your dog from becoming overly excited. This includes keeping your greetings short and simple and keeping your movements slow and calm. Working on self-control and calming behaviors is another great idea to help calm your furry friend down. Discuss things with your veterinary provider if you feel there is more to his anxious state other than pure excitement. In some cases, mat training can turn out to be useful for some dogs, although it’s best to teach your dog confidence while being left home alone.
Other Solutions and Considerations
When they are in an extremely aroused state, dogs may not have control over their behavior at all. The best thing you can do is to remain calm and move your dog from crying to a calm, submissive condition. When greeting new people outside, avoid speaking in excited, loud tones and don’t interact with your dog until he’s less excited. You can also divert their attention from the source of their excitement to something you’d like them to do instead of crying. You can try sitting or hand targeting whenever they greet you or other people and practice until they no longer feel the need to be… all over the place.
Whatever the reasons may be for your dog crying when you get home… you love it and your dog loves it too. Being greeted by your pup when you come home does not only bring pure joy to your furry companion, but it also helps you unwind and feel appreciated. Bring on all the kisses and sniffs, we say.